Fraudster out on day parole
A man who bilked his family, friends and strangers of more than a million dollars is out of prison after spending just over a year in custody.
Douglas Archie Clark was granted day parole on Oct. 9, despite misgivings by members of his case management team, who recommended parole be denied.
The 66-year-old Clark must abide by a set of rules while in the community and return to a half-way house at night.
Clark was sentenced to three years in prison in February on 11 counts of fraud after he admitted to scamming 11 people.
He was given double time credit for six months he had already spent in custody, which left two years in his sentence.
Clark was released from a federal prison last week after spending eight months in custody.
“You have no support from your case management team as they believe that you have limited insight into your offending, no relapse prevention plan and continue to have grandiose ideas for paying back your victims,” the parole board said in a written decision.
“You have no solid support or meaningful employment plans. Your [case management team] is of the opinion that you are willing to victimize anyone who will fall for your lies …and you do not appear to view your past actions as criminal.”
To trick his victims, Clark portrayed himself as a member of the Canadian military, often indicating he was either currently employed or retired from the navy. He sometimes wore a military uniform.
He told family, friends and colleagues he had cancer and needed the cash to pay for experimental treatments.
Police believe he defrauded at least 54 people, including his ex-wife and son, for about $1.4 million, although charges were only approved for 22. Clark was convicted on 11 of those counts, the remaining charges were stayed.
Clark told the parole board it was easy to get caught up in lies.
He used the money to gamble and furnish a lavish lifestyle. The parole board noted Clark was suspected of using illegal drugs, but that could not be confirmed.
Clark did not obey bail conditions after his arrest last year and the board had little faith that he would follow another court order.
However, Clark was granted day parole after the board took into account his lack of criminal history, his low-to-moderate risk of reoffending, his participation in prison programs, and the fact that he was trying to find support in the community.
Marjorie Lovatt was shocked to find out that Clark had been released from prison.
“He’s so smooth, I’m not surprised he convinced the parole board,” said Lovatt, 89.
“I can’t believe they let him out.”
Over two years, the Maple Ridge senior lent Clark $250,000, wiping out her life savings and eventually dipping into her pension.
Clark, who she has known for more than 30 years, told her he needed the cash to pay for experimental treatments in the U.S. to fight cancer. He always promised he’d return the money, but had a tale of hard luck when it came time to pay back the cash.
The sentencing judge ordered Clark to pay more than $500,000 in restitution, but Lovatt has yet to see any money returned. Clark wants to start a business to pay back his victims.
To remain out of prison, Clark must abide by several special conditions that include participating in mental health treatment to address unresolved emotional issues and develop insight into his crimes, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, not gambling, providing documented financial information to his parole officer, and reporting all his relationships, acquaintances, family, friendships and business partnerships to his parole supervisor.